We are committed to engaging communities and harnessing the power of the justice system to address local problems and improve public safety.
The Center for Court Innovation created the first community court in 1993. Located a short walk from New York City’s Times Square, the Midtown Community Court works with people in the neighborhood to tailor creative responses to local concerns. Since then, we have worked to bring the idea of community justice to other New York City neighborhoods (Red Hook, Harlem, Brownsville, and others), and to jurisdictions around the world that are interested in reinvigorating public trust in justice, reducing the use of incarceration and forging new responses to minor offending. We have also helped launch the National Community Court Initiative, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.
We have also worked to spread the idea of community justice beyond courts. For example, we have worked with prosecutors to encourage them to not only prosecute cases, but to solve public safety problems, prevent crime, and improve public trust in justice. Rather than simply tallying cases won and sentences imposed, prosecutors should measure the effect of their work on quality of life, community attitudes, and crime. To support such efforts, we work with local prosecutors and national experts such as the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Fair and Just Prosecution.
National Community Court Initiative
The National Community Court Initiative supports the creation, enhancement, and evaluation of community-focused courts across the country.
Bronx Community Solutions
Bronx Community Solutions provides community-based alternatives to jail, restores community relationships, and helps participants avoid further criminal justice involvement.
Brooklyn Young Adult Court
The Brooklyn Young Adult Court seeks to provide meaningful alternatives to conventional prosecution for young people, ages 18 to 24, charged with misdemeanors.
Brownsville Community Justice Center
The Brownsville Community Justice Center works to reduce crime and incarceration, and strengthen community trust in justice in central Brooklyn.
Harlem Community Justice Center
The Harlem Community Justice Center is a neighborhood-based community court committed to bridging the gap between the court and community to achieve fairness and systematic equity in housing, commu
International Community Court Conferences
Every two years, we bring together passionate people dedicated to innovations in community justice.
Mentor Community Courts
These community courts enhance assistance provided by the Center for Court Innovation by serving as regional resources for jurisdictions looking to implement similar community justice initiatives.
Midtown Community Court
The Midtown Community Court is one of the country's first problem-solving courts. It provides alternatives to fines and jail as a response to low-level crime.
Newark Community Solutions
Newark Community Solutions applies a problem-solving approach to low-level cases in Newark, New Jersey’s municipal courthouse.
Red Hook Community Justice Center
The nation's first multi-jurisdictional community court, the Red Hook Community Justice Center seeks to solve neighborhood problems in southwest Brooklyn.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations and institutions to shift to operating remotely, disparities driven by the digital divide became a shared problem across major cross-sector systems important to a community’s well-being. The Health, Housing, and Justice Alliance sought to eliminate inequities of fully virtual legal, healthcare, and social services through the creation of pop-up navigation centers and court hubs throughout Newark, New Jersey.
Kristina Singleton works on diverting people from court into supportive or educational programming. Among the programs she works with at the Midtown Community Court are Project Reset, which offers those charged with a low-level crime the chance to avoid court and a criminal record by completing community-based programming, and a recently launched youth gun-diversion program for young people who have been arrested on gun possession charges.
Highlights from a public screening and panel discussion of Bill Moyers's 'Rikers: An American Jail,' moderated by New Thinking host, Matt Watkins. Commenting on the film and the future of criminal justice reform are Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society, Jill Harris of the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office, and two of the people formerly held on Rikers featured in the film: Barry Campbell of the Fortune Society, and Johnny Perez of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.
John Jay College senior Shania Roseborough is a winner of the 2021-2022 New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship, which supports year-long internships at leading criminal justice organizations. Working with the Center’s Midtown Community Court, Shania is brainstorming different ways to further improve relationships with local communities and community-based organizations, , and is listening to justice-impacted folks to create new solutions to the system.
Josiah Bates of TIME Magazine gives a window into the day-in-the-life of a violence interrupter while spending time with the Center for Court Innovation's Save Our Streets (S.O.S.) teams. Noting the complicated dynamics that are at play in their interactions with both the police and the communities they serve, Rahson Johnson, associate director of community safety at S.O.S. Crown Heights, and Joshua Simon, a violence interrupter with S.O.S. Bed-Stuy, are interviewed and reflect on how to bring resources to help heal the community.
How can designers and advocates reckon with the uneasy history of safety in environmental design? This article explores how our Neighborhood Safety Initiatives, in partnership with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice are working in public housing communities to build stronger, healthier public spaces.